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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

Make] Projects 

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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics 

Memory Game 

Written By: Steve Hobley 



Computer with free Arduino software (1) 
download at 

FTDI programmer (1) 

such as Adafruit #284 or Maker Shed 


Soldering iron, with solder (1) 

USB cable. standard-A to mini-B (1) 
from RadioShack. 

MAKE MintDuino Kit (1) 
available from RadioShack 

LED. Red (4) 
from RadioShack. 

Tactile switch, momentary (4) 

to fit a breadboard, such as Omron type 


Piezo buzzer (1) 
from RadioShack. 

MAKE Mintronics Survival Pack (1) 
from RadioShack. 

Resistor Assortment Pack (1) 
from RadioShack. You need four 200C1 
resistors: the Survival Pack has 5 but 
it's smart to have spares.) 

9V battery (1) 
from RadioShack. 

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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

Hookup wire. 22AWG (1) 
from RadioShack. 


In this project, we'll turn a MAKE MintDuino microcontroller and a Mintronics Survival Pack 
into a replica of retro electronic memory games like Simon and the Tandy Pocket Repeat 
game sold by RadioShack in the 1980s. 

It's amazing how fun and addictive this simple game is, and it's a great way to learn about 
integrated circuits and programming. The code is very straightforward, and it's commented 
to explain how each part works, so you can customize your game by experimenting with the 
different parameters and values in the code. 

This entire project is built on breadboards, so no soldering is required (though Step 3 is a bit 
tidier if you solder the wires instead of just twisting them). 

Get ready to build and program your own microcontroller, and relive the dawn of electronic 
handheld gaming! 

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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

Step 1 — Assemble the MintDuino microcontroller. 

• MintDuino is a breadboard-based Arduino clone. Housed in a mint tin, it includes (nearly) 
everything you need to create a programmable microcontroller that can control the devices 
in your world — like a memory game. 

• I won't reinvent the wheel on this one, as there is an excellent tutorial right here on Make: 
Projects at Build a Mintronics: MintDuino . Follow it to assemble your MintDuino. 

• Just be sure to check your work as you go, keep your chip pins (A5, etc.) straight 
from your breadboard holes (a5, etc.), and — this is important — make sure the 
power supply is working before you add the processor chip. 


Step 2 — Gather your input/output components. 

# Tada! Now that your MintDuino is ready to go, it's time to add the input and output bits to 
build the game. 

• We'll supplement the MintDuino kit with 4 additional LEDs, a piezo buzzer, and 4 tactile 
switches (not shown here), plus we'll use the mini breadboard from the Mintronics Survival 

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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

Step 3 — Wire up the game switches. 

• The Mintronics Survival Pack 
comes with a mini breadboard. 
These can be handy, but be 
warned, they lack power supply 
strips. And for this project, we need 
a ground line that extends over the 
4 switches. 

• To accomplish this, strip back a 
longer piece of the black wire and 
twist 3 short wires onto one end (I 
tack-soldered them instead — in 
which case, OK I lied, there's a tiny 
bit of soldering involved). 

• Then mount the 4 switches on the 
breadboard as shown, and connect 
the common ground to one side of 

• NOTE: The switches are not 
marked and so it can be 
difficult to work out the orientation. 
I recommend using a multimeter in 
conductivity test mode to figure out 
how to place them on the board. 

• Also connect short wire leads (I 
used yellow) to the opposite side of 
each switch. Now pressing a 
switch will connect the yellow wire 
to the common ground. 


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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

Step 4 — Connect the switches and buzzer to the MintDuino. 


P AS' 

























• Connect the piezo buzzer to the MintDuino: red wire to pin 6 (b20 on the breadboard), and 
black wire to ground. 

• The LED output lines are A2-A5. (Did you know that the analog pins can be used as digital 
pins, too?) I'll be using green wires for these. 

• The switch lines run from D9-D12. I used yellow wires for these. In each case, the lines 
run 1-4 from bottom to top. So D9 input corresponds to A2 output, and so on. Check with 
the hookup diagram (third image) for a closer look. 

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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

Step 5 — Add the game LEDs. 

• Place the LEDs on the mini 
breadboard as shown. In each 
case, the longer, positive lead is on 
the left-hand side. 

• The green wires run to the left-hand 
lead of each LED. 

• Finally add four 220Q resistors 
(red-red-brown-gold), running from 
the right-hand lead of each LED to 
the Ground of its switch. 

• The switches are wired up 
to be normally HIGH. When 
the button is pushed, they are 
pulled LOW. You'll notice that no 
switch pull-up resistors are being 
used on the breadboard — we're 
using the internal 20KQ pull-ups 
inside the microcontroller chip for 

• All done! Your game is built. 

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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

Step 6 — Program the MintDuino. 

• Download the "Repeat After Me" Arduino sketch from GitHub. (Arduino programs are 
called "sketches.") 

• IMPORTANT: Download and install the correct FTDI drivers for your computer from . This tells the Arduino IDE software to add the right "serial ports" for 
the MintDuino. Otherwise, the Arduino IDE doesn't provide the right connectivity options 
and uploading the sketch will return "Error: Programmer not responding." 

• Now hook up your FTDI programming cable, open the "Repeat After Me" sketch in the 
Arduino IDE (free from ). and upload the sketch to your MintDuino. 

• Remember to keep the project plugged into the 9V battery when uploading. Unlike 
manufactured Arduino boards, your MintDuino cannot pull power from the USB 
connection off of the computer. 


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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

Step 7 — Play "Repeat After Me." 

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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

• When you connect the battery, the 
button breadboard will flash one 
LED and sound a "get ready" tone, 
then flash all 4 LEDs silently to say 
"here we go." 

• If you've ever played Simon or 
Pocket Repeat, you know how this 
goes — the game will flash one 
LED and play a tone, and then you 
push the button that corresponds to 
that LED to repeat the flash and 
tone. Then the game adds a 
second LED and tone to the 
sequence, and you press buttons 
to repeat the sequence. And then a 
third, a fourth, a fifth, and so on, 
until your memory fails and you 
blow it! 

• The game will then light an LED 
giving your score: LED 1 for 
Beginner, 2 for Amateur, 3 for 
Expert, or 4 for Champ. Good luck 
remembering 32 in a row if you 
want to become Champ! 

• This game is fun and impressively 
addictive, and it brings back great 
memories of early electronic 
games. Of course, being built on a 
breadboard, it's not as robust as a 
store-bought game, so watch 
where you put your fingers or you 
might short-circuit a button or 
knock loose a resistor in your 

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Repeat After Me: A Mintronics Memory Game 

Step 8 — Taking your game further. 

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• Just like the 80s games, Repeat 
After Me will fail you with a rude 
buzz if you take more than a few 
seconds to choose a button, and it 
gradually cranks up the speed as 
you play. You can change all these 
values in the Arduino code to 
customize your game. 

• The original Tandy Pocket Repeat 
game (shown here) had 2 game 
types: the standard game, and a 
second game that allowed the user 
to add steps to the sequence, 
taking turns with the computer. 
Experiment with the Arduino code 
and see what you can do! 

• Other obvious next steps to this 
project would be to move it off the 
breadboard and onto a PCB, add a 
project box, and use more-robust 
game buttons. Maybe we'll tackle 
all of that in a followup project. 

Now you know how to build an Arduino-compatible microcontroller on a breadboard from scratch, 
add some input and output controls, and program a classic game! 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1 -01 1 0:56:52 AM. 

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